Diagnosis: Identity Theft

For $60, a thief can buy your health records and use them to get costly care. Guess who gets the bill

When Lind Weaver opened her mailbox one day in early 2004, she was surprised to find a bill from a local hospital for the amputation of her right foot. Surprised because the 57-year-old owner of a horse farm in Palm Coast, Fla., had never had worse than an ingrown toenail. After weeks of wrangling with the hospital's billing reps, Weaver finally stormed into the facility and kicked her heels up on the desk of the chief administrator. "Obviously, I have both of my feet," she told him.

Weaver eventually persuaded the hospital to drop the charges but in the process discovered that the mistake wasn't a simple billing error. Weaver's identity had been stolen by a fraudster who had used her personal information—her address, Social Security number, and even her insurance ID number—to have the expensive procedure performed. Diagnosis: Identity Theft

Linked by shanmuga Thursday, 4th January 2007 2:40AM